February 6, 2012

Public Health Think Tank at State House Wednesday

STATE HOUSE – Rep. Teresa Tanzi and Sen. Juan Pichardo will host the sixth annual Health Policy Legislative Forum Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the State Room on the second floor of the State House. 

Sponsored by the Rhode Island Public Health Think Tank, a collaborative effort between the General Assembly and the Rhode Island Public Health Association (RIPHA), the event is aimed at advancing public discussion of health policy between public health advocates and lawmakers. 

The event will feature a keynote address by Marti Rosenberg, director of New Roots Providence, the Providence Plan. Also scheduled to speak are Representative Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, South Kingstown, Narragansett) and Senator Pichardo (D-Dist. 2, Providence), Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts and Department of Health Director Dr. Michael Fine. Representative Tanzi and Senator Pichardo will also lead a panel discussion among legislators and the representatives of health-related nonprofit organizations at 3 p.m. 

The forum will focus on advocacy across a broad array of topics including prevention, hunger and the environment. The forum provides an opportunity for the health policy advocacy community and members of the General Assembly to come together in a collaborative process to exchange their ideas on these and other priorities or the 2012 legislative session.

Additionally, the program will include presentations by the Rhode Island Tobacco Control Network, the University of Rhode Island Feinstein Center for a Hunger-Free America, the Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health, and the Food Policy Council. 

A booklet to be provided to all General Assembly members and event participants will include contributions from Advocacy Organizations along with Public Health Briefs provided by RIPHA on topics of Rhode Island health including infant mortality, years of productive life lost, traffic morbidity and mortality, prescription deaths and sugar-sweetened beverages.

RIPHA, the state affiliate of the American Public Health Association, is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health and safety of Rhode Islanders by influencing public health policy and promoting public health practice. In the spring of 2006, RIPHA and the Rhode Island General Assembly launched the Rhode Island Public Health Think Tank (PHTT). The overall purpose of the PHTT is to provide legislators with independent, evidence-based background reports concerning public health issues of interest.